NEW DELHI: A day after losing five Meghalaya lawmakers to NDA, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi rejiged the unit in the poll-bound state to control damage. Polls for the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly will be held in March 2018. Celestine Lyngdoh will be the new state unit chief while outgoing PCC chief D D Lapang will work as an advisor and Vincent H Pala will be working president.
Congress lawmakers, including former deputy CM Rowell Lyngdoh, Sniawbhalang Dhar, Comingone Ymbon, Prestone Tynsong, and Ngaitlang Dhar resigned on Friday. MLA P N Syiem had resigned last week.
This brings down the Congress tally from 30 to 24, but nine independents are still supporting CM Mukul Sangma, taking the total to 33, two past the half way mark.
Out of the five MLAs who left on Friday, four had been sacked as ministers a few months ago, reportedly over incompetence. They will join National People’s Party (NPP), headed by Conrad Sangma, son of former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma. NPP has just two MLAs but hopes to form the next government with support from BJP, with which it has an alliance in Manipur.
AICC general secretary in charge of the Northeast C P Joshi accused BJP of fomenting trouble in the state. “BJP is trying to enter the state through backdoor by supporting NPP with huge funds,” Joshi told The New Indian Express. He said Celestine Lyngdoh would take everyone along and expressed hope that the Congress will retain power in the state.